The annual Columbus Blue Jackets Development Camp opens Monday and runs through Thursday. It will take place in the Ice Haus, the team’s practice facility which is located at Nationwide Arena. The prospects will have on-ice practice sessions today and Tuesday. On Wednesday, they will have on-ice skating tests and will conclude Thursday with the first development camp 3-on-3 tournament.
This is the first chance that many fans will get to see the players drafted in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. There will be a total of 28 players, with 16 forwards, 8 defensemen and 4 goaltenders participating in the camp. All of the players drafted in Philadelphia will be in attendance.
Here is the breakdown of players by position:
Forwards: Seth Ambroz, Josh Anderson, Tyler Bird, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Marko Dano, Markus Hannikainen, Sonny Milano, Nick Moutrey, Julien Pelletier, Peter Quenneville, Kerby Rychel, Lukas Sedlak, Markus Soberg, T.J. Tynan, Alexander Wennberg, Daniel Zaar
Defensemen: Ryan Collins, Ryo Hashimoto, Dillon Heatherington, Thomas Larkin, Olivier LeBlanc, Austin Madaisky,Mike Reilly, Blake Siebenaler
Goaltenders: Oscar Dansk, Anton Forsberg, Joonas Korpisalo, Elvis Merzilikins
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Elvis will be in the building.
JOHANSEN LATEST: The contract extension talks between the team and restricted free agent Ryan Johansen are ongoing, according to assistant general manager Bill Zito. The club wants a "bridge deal" to help ensure that last year’s performance is sustainable, while the young Johansen is looking for a longer-term contract.
Johansen, 33-30-63 (+3) in 82 games, had a breakout season in 2013-14. He led the team in goals and points, and was third in assists, behind only James Wisniewski (44) and Brandon Dubinsky (34). He also led the team in shots (237) and was tied with four other players for game-winning goals (5).
Have no doubt, Johansen will see a significant pay raise from what he was making in his entry-level deal that just expired. But, this is a process and eventually both sides will find a somewhat happy middle ground upon which they will agree moving forward.
Another thing to keep in mind is that goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, after winning the Vezina Trophy in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, agreed to a two-year "bridge deal" going into the 2013-14 season. It’s just a prudent business decision on the part of the Blue Jackets to try and assure that last year’s performance by Johansen can be replicated.
SIGNINGS: Defenseman David Savard signed a two-year contract extension last Friday worth $2.6 million. Savard, 23 years old and a fourth-round pick of the Blue Jackets in the 2009 NHL entry draft, almost doubled the $709,275 he made last season. He’ll be on the third defensive pairing alongside Dalton Prout, who signed his own two-year extension a week earlier.
The team also signed forward Brian Gibbons (26 years old, 5’8" and 170 lbs.) to a one-year, two-way contract. He played with current Blue Jacket Cam Atkinson at Boston College. Gibbons, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins, played in 41 games (5-12-17, +5) in 2013-14. In eight playoff games last season, he went 2-1-3, +5. The two playoff goals came against Columbus. He’ll be looking for an opportunity to make the club (most likely fourth line) out of training camp in September.
LOOKING AHEAD: There are only 95 days remaining until the Blue Jackets open the 2014-15 season on the road in Buffalo against the Sabres. They return to the friendly confines for the home opener on Oct. 11. There are only 77 days until they open the preseason against the Carolina Hurricanes on the road, Sept. 21.